For good reason, the word “protein” derives from the Greek “photos,” which signifies “first in rank or position.” Protein is necessary for so many crucial activities in the body that it is critical to achieving our daily requirements, which vary from person to person.
Your daily protein requirements are determined by a variety of factors, including your weight and muscle mass, as well as whether you are a woman or a male.
However, if you just did a simple Google search, you might not know.
You've probably heard that most individuals consume more protein than they require to meet their needs, or that the “average” woman requires 46 grams of protein per day and the “average” man requires 56 grams. However, keep in mind that the Food and Nutrition Committee of the Institute of Medicine established these general guidelines to cover the basic needs of the majority.
How much protein should you consume? Is there a general rule to follow?
Is it reasonable to use a “one size fits all” rule of thumb for protein consumption? Why should protein differ from person to person if caloric needs do? After all, various people have different body types and varied body compositions. Protein requirements are likely to vary as well.
One of the Institute of Medicine's suggestions is to ingest protein that accounts for 10 to 35 percent of your daily calorie consumption.
And this can help a little, or at the very least try to link protein and calorie requirements.
However, the calorie percentage range is extremely broad, making it difficult for most people to determine the exact amount they should consume.
So, how can you figure out how much protein your body requires? There are two options.
Method 1: Determine it using lean body mass.
Because protein is so crucial for maintaining lean body mass (basically, not everything in your body is fat), the recommended daily quantity is based in part on your lean body mass.
Body composition should be measured (some bathroom scales can even do this for you), which will tell you how so much lean body mass you have.
As a result, determining the amount of protein recommended for you is simple.
This equates to 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean muscle mass.
That would be 1 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body mass in the metric system.
Method 2: Use your body weight to calculate it.
Of course, not everyone can perform a body composition analysis.
If you don't know how much protein you need, you can use your weight to figure it out.
It's not the ideal way because it ignores muscle mass, but it does take diverse body shapes into account.
Here's how to figure out how much protein you need:
To convert to pounds, multiply your body weight by 0.7.
Multiply your body weight by 1.5 to convert it to kilos.
The number you get will be a good estimate of how much protein you should consume each day in grams.
So, a woman weighing 140 pounds (64 kilograms) should aim for 100 grams of protein each day. A man weighing 220 lbs (110 kg) should consume 150 g of protein every day.
The amount of protein is better suited to your needs with either strategy than standard recommendations based purely on gender.
Of course, if you have a specific sporting goal in mind, like boosting your strength or endurance, your requirements would be different.
My guide “Calculation of macronutrients for sports performance” has more information.
How to figure out how much protein is in common foods
You'll want to determine how much protein you're currently consuming now that you have a better sense of how much you should be eating each day. Calculating the quantity of protein for a meal in 25g units and the matching amount for snacks in 10g units was simple for me.
I'll tell you why: Protein snacks typically contain about 10g of protein, and common servings of diverse protein items that we consume at our meals contain 25g of protein. It's simple to keep track of everything. A snack consisting of a single-serving container of yogurt, a protein bar, or a handful of toasted soy nuts, for example, has about 10 g of protein, whereas 3 ounces of cooked fish or chicken contains about 25 g of protein.
If you're a woman trying to consume 100 grams of protein per day, you may easily do that by eating 25 grams (one unit) at each meal and supplementing with protein snacks. If you're a man who wants to consume 150 grams of protein per day, simply double the protein units in some meals to meet your target.
Practical advice on how to keep track of your protein intake
Here are some of my best strategies and suggestions for keeping track of your protein intake.
- To keep a more accurate record, make sure to read the nutritional facts.
Weigh your cooked protein a few times to become used to the amount in your normal servings for accuracy.
- Keep track of your daily log with an app.
- If you're looking for a way to get more protein, try meal replacement protein smoothies, which you can customize with extra protein powder or other toppings like yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu, or nut butter.
- Don't only think about protein; consider the rest of your diet as well.
- Include a range of nutritious carbohydrates (such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans) as well as healthy fats (such as nuts, avocado, and vegetable oils) in your daily diet.